Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hurting Loved Ones

I could feel the pain in the man's voice. He was so upset, that even though he was 2000 miles away, it was like he was at my side.

He said he'd been dealing with his son's addiction for years. He'd sent him to treatment programs. He'd visited him in jail. He'd help him financially. He bought him cars. But nothing seemed to work.

Finally, he saw the halfway house program on this website. He knew it would be a perfect fit. So he bought him an airline ticket and we picked him up at the airport.

And he did all right for a few weeks. Then one day he disappeared. Soon his father got a call. His son told him there'd been a 30 man brawl at one of our halfway houses and because he was part of the altercation we discharged him. I told his father that never happened. But that a few people left because they refused to take a drug test.

After he left his father only had sporadic phone calls. He'd hear that he was in a detox center. Then maybe in another program. Once he called from a soup kitchen. When he called he'd beg for money or an airline ticket home. But his father didn't do what he asked; instead he wanted him to go back into the program.

There's a lot more that went on between father and son. But the point of all this is that most of us in our addiction never realize the pain and misery we cause those who love us. They can't sleep. They wonder if they're going to get a call in the middle of the night with a message that we died. They blame themselves. They wonder where they went wrong when they were raising us.

But it's usually never about what they did or didn’t do. It's about our self-centered egocentric behavior that says the only thing that matters is our pleasure. Our drugs. Our alcohol. Our immediate self gratification.

If we really understood how our behavior affects those who love us we might have an easier time being in recovery.